Rural Missouri - April 2021 - 28

Co-op power kept
flowing, thanks to
hard work and help
from our friends
by Jim McCarty | jmccarty@ruralmissouri.coop

T

THE

BIG

CHILL
28

RURAL MISSOURI | APRIL 2021

he week of Feb. 15, 2021, is a time no one at Missouri's electric cooperatives will soon forget. In the
days leading up to that fateful time, temperatures
plummeted across the country - and stayed there.
Ice and snow fell for days. In response, demand for electricity edged toward record levels across the Midwest.
Associated Electric Cooperative - which provides
wholesale power to transmission cooperatives for their
distribution systems in Missouri, Iowa and Oklahoma -
called on its diverse generation resources, including coal,
gas, wind and water, to meet the winter wrath. Ultimately
the high demand set a new peak of 5,587 megawatts on
Feb. 15. Before this storm, Associated's previous all-time
peak was 5,104 megawatts set during the polar vortex of
January 2018.
One little problem, it appeared, could have been the
straw that broke the camel's back and caused the rolling
blackouts other parts of the country faced. Fortunately,
members of the states' electric cooperatives stepped up
in a big way. They lowered thermostats, turned off lights,
pulled plugs and let the laundry pile up, all in response
to urgent messages from their electric cooperative asking
them to temporarily conserve energy.
" Everyone pitched in however they could, " says Joe
Wilkinson, chief member relations officer for Associated
Electric Cooperative. " We could definitely tell our loads
didn't get where we thought they would. We had been asking them to conserve electricity since Monday. On Friday
they were still cutting back. "
Missouri's three-tiered cooperative system primarily
serves homes rather than large industrial loads. With 90%
of the meters powering residences, it took everyone cutting their use to lower the demand on the system. There's
no question that this member support helped the electric
cooperatives that get their power from Associated Electric
dodge a bullet during the unprecedented cold.
Watching the forecast, Associated enacted its emergency
plan well in advance of the cold snap. " As a power supplier,
preparedness is part of what we do well, " says Joe. " Using
our energy emergency plan is like breaking the glass to get
to the fire extinguisher. It's rare. We don't have to use it
very often, but we are prepared. "
One day after the new peak was set, Feb. 16, Associated
nearly reached the point where it must reduce energy load

photo courtesy Becky Ivester, SEMO Electric Cooperative

Ice formed on this SEMO Electric Cooperative meter but the power
kept flowing here and at electric cooperatives across Missouri.



Rural Missouri - April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - April 2021

Contents
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - Contents
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - 4
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - 5
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - 6
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - 7
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Rural Missouri - April 2021 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - Cover4
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